The Casual Outdoorsman Reviews the Manatee 100 DLX Sit in Kayak

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*The dashboard was addition we added.

The Manatee 100 DLX is a recreational flat water kayak manufactured by Perception Kayaks, a company that has  been making quality kayaks in the USA for over 40 years. It is sold through L.L Bean Outfitters, an American retailer that has been in business since 1911.

At First Glance:

At a price point of $399.00, the manatee offers a lot of features, for not a lot of money. First, it is constructed of tough roto-molded polyethylene. Yes, kayaks constructed like this tend to be heavier than some other materials, but at a length of 10 feet and width of 29.5 inches, the Manatee with its seat barely tips the scales at 42 lbs. making it easy to solo load/ unload from your car.

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Large Open Cockpit

The cockpit is large, measuring 51 inches by 23 inches making it easy to enter and exit from, and inside the cockpit, you will find a fully padded and fully adjustable (forward, backward, up, down) backrest along with a padded seat. Another great feature of the seat is that it is mounted a few inches above the deck ensuring a dry ride. Add to this adjustable foot braces and thigh pads on the coaming and you end up with very comfortable boat to spend a few hours in.

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Storage Hatch

Outside of the cockpit, the Manatee comes standard with a paddle holder and front and rear bungee cords to store your gear in case you need to max out the 275 lb. weight capacity. Behind the seat there is ample storage space with access through a 15.5 inch x 11 inch oval hatch with Tupperware style cover. Two easy carry handles are mounted fore and aft. There are no bulkheads in the Manatee so though there is ample storage, it is not dry storage. Another good feature the Manatee offers is flotation in both the bow and stern which is a feature sometimes not found in these types of kayaks.

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Ty, Our Boat Tester

On The Water:

All of these features mean nothing if the boat does not perform, so we sent Ty, our boat tester out in it for a few hours to see what he thought about the Manatee. These are his conclusions.

Entry and exit was easy thanks to the large cockpit opening. The adjustable seat was very comfortable. The seat back adjusts up and down allowing you to get a custom fit with the adjustable foot braces.

Stability was excellent, in all conditions. (Flat water, wind, choppy water)

Surprisingly, this boat tracks extremely well for a 10 foot recreational kayak without a skeg, is easy to maneuver, gets up to speed quickly and is faster than many other Rec. kayaks in its class.

In windy conditions, the boat is easy to keep on track with only a slight amount of weather cocking if you paddle with proper form. In choppy water, staying on track took a little more effort. The bow shed water well enough but the large cockpit opening did allow some splash to enter. Luckily, the seat is elevated which kept me dry.

Pros:

  1. Very Stable
  2. Easy entry/exit
  3. Fairly light weight
  4. Great seat
  5. Lots of storage
  6. Tracks well
  7. Fast for a 10 foot Rec. Kayak

Cons:

  1. Only available through L.L. Bean (If no store is near you, shipping is $60)
  2. No bulkheads or dry storage

Conclusion:

This might be one of the best 10 foot recreational kayaks we have ever paddled. For the recreational paddler who spends his/her time on flat water, this boat offers a lot of features and performance at a reasonable price point. Though it is considered an entry level boat, it is one we think you won’t grow tired of paddling for many years.

Find your headwaters,

Jaucque, Dave and Ty

Kayak provided by Michelle M. and L.L. Bean
Photographs by D. T.
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